Social support has been linked to positive health outcomes. Specifically, having available support from a friend may act as a buffer to the negative effects of stress on cardiovascular reactivity. Relationship quality is an important moderator of this effect. The purpose of this study was to examine how cardiovascular reactivity is affected by relationship quality within friendships and whether the length of relationship and frequency of contact may moderate the effect. 134 healthy male and female adults (and their same-sex friend) were recruited to participate. Results revealed no significant difference between subjects interacting with supportive friends compared to interacting with ambivalent friends on cardiovascular reactivity. Length of relationship was independently associated with higher cardiac output (CO) and lower total peripheral resistance (TPR), but there was no statistical interaction between length of relationship and relationship quality. Frequency of contact was not a significant predictor of cardiovascular reactivity and no statistical interaction was found between frequency of contact and relationship quality. This study provides some evidence that length of relationships may be important to consider in future studies examining stressful relationships.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Clark, Benjamin D., "Cardiovascular Reactivity in Friendships: Length of Relationship and Frequency of Contact as Potential Moderators" (2012). Theses and Dissertations. 3861.
social support, friend, cardiovascular reactivity, relationship quality, length, contact